I know what it’s like…

pear with slice out

I know what it’s like to fall off the wagon on a good habit. My downfall is finding time to write. I love the idea of writing, but often make many of the same excuses you might expect of someone avoiding the gym or cooking dinner – I’m tired, there’s no time, it’s too hard.

I’m lucky that I happen to love the feeling of eating real, wholesome foods (processed foods make me think of pencil shavings thanks to my favorite childhood author). I also happen to love getting a good workout. Both make me feel great, and I’m thankful that I love doing both because it helps me live a healthy active life.

But writing – boy, it’s tough to get started. I often compose the beginnings of essays or blog posts in my head that never make it to page (or screen, as it were). I also have a lot of hang-ups about my (insert your healthy habit) writing. But once I get started, I am always happy that I made the time to do it.

There’s just about nothing worse than a writer talking about writing, so I’ll get back to my point, which is this: I know what it’s like to struggle with doing something I know is good for me. And it makes me sympathize with anyone striving to eat better or find time for a workout. Today, I have one tip for success for you, and this one tip is what got me started writing (writing again, at last!) this post in the first place (proof that it works).

Harness Your Inner Winner

OK, that sounds a little hokey, even to me. What do I mean? (Not  this). Simply this: think about something you’re already good at. And no excuses – I bet you are GREAT at something. Maybe you’re great at washing the dishes right after a meal, reading the news every day, tying your shoes in this cool efficient way, calling your family regularly, hula hooping, or being a general mise en place badass and aptly juggling picking up the kids, doing laundry, getting your mail and a million other little things. If you’re good at something, acknowledge it. Then use it. What makes you successful in the things you’re good at? How can you use those lessons to tackle a Meatless Monday, salad for lunch, or a post-workday workout?

For me, I know that when I do something good for myself, I feel good. I love that feeling. I’m good at being active and eating right. So I told myself, “What’s the holdup? You know how to get things done. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time out. It’s a process. You know it’ll feel good. Go do it. It’s important. Do it.” And well, here I am.

Tell me how you harness your inner winner – I’m dying to know how you do it.

 

Q&A on Weight Management, Part II

3 pistachios

In the second installment of a two-part guest blog on weight management for Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, I cover two areas many clients struggle with in their diets – snacking and eating breakfast daily. (In the first post, I answered questions about weight loss struggles, how to stay on track, and exercise for a busy lifestyle).

Bell Institute: What are some of your favorite nutrient dense snacks to recommend to clients in place of higher calorie options?
Maggie Moon, MS, RD: Firstly, nutrient-rich foods are the best bet for a healthy diet that supports a healthy weight. Secondly, they aren’t always lower in calories or healthy fats. Clients often need to be reminded that low-fat is not always the answer. When it comes to nutrient-dense, satisfying snacks for weight loss, calories are certainly a factor, but I don’t recommend restricting them to the point that it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish.
I remind clients that calories are nutrients, too. If you don’t have enough, you’re bound to feel hungry sooner rather than later. They like to know that there is research that says a snack that combines carbs, protein, and some fat is more satisfying and can contribute to overall fewer calories in a day. Of course, a foundation in nutrition concurs that balanced snacks and meals are the way to go. I try to recommend tasty, balanced, nutrient-rich snacks in the 100-200 calorie range. Here are few smart snacks that fit the bill:
3 pistachios
  • A ripe, Bartlett pear and a handful of about 30 in-shell pistachios, for about 200 calories. There is something positively buttery about both components of this snack, and the freshness of the fruit and savory richness of the pistachios makes the palate happy. Your clients get some fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals like potassium, and hydration.pear with slice out
  • Slices of their favorite variety of apple, combined with a sandwich-slice of sharp cheddar cheese (80 calories), for about 200 calories. They get some fiber, protein, calcium, and more.
  • Non-fat or low-fat yogurt topped with a whole grain cereal can also be under 200 calories. This is a convenient snack, and they get some protein, calcium, fiber, and fortified cereals provide many essential vitamins and minerals.
  • For a big nutrient bang for the buck, I look to veggies like lettuce, kale, bell peppers, cucumbers, which are all naturally lower in calories. But I’ll combine them with some of my favorite Italian dressing, a Greek yogurt dip, or maybe shred a little bit of cheese over them for a balanced snack.
Bell Institute: What are your thoughts on the importance of eating breakfast daily as part of a weight management plan?

greek-yogurt-cereal-ss

Moon: Eating a healthful breakfast is good for overall health, just as maintaining a healthy weight is. Some contrarians are quick to point out that it may not be breakfast in itself that is the reason people who lose weight are so often breakfast eaters, but that it’s also their other healthy habits. Well they are correct up to a point. Do people who lose weight have overall better health habits? Maybe. And guess what? Breakfast is one of those healthy
habits. The key is enjoying a nutritionally-balanced breakfast with positive nutrients for a reasonable amount of calories.

Q&A on Weight Management, Part I

Last week, the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition approached me about contributing a couple blog posts on weight management. They pulled questions from their Twitter community, and my responses will be posted this week and next. The first post went up today covering what people struggle with most and how to stay on track, along with recommendations on how to fit exercise into a busy life. Check it out:

 

Bell Institute: What do your clients struggle with most when it comes to weight management? How do you help them stay on track?

portion_distortion-burger and fries

Maggie Moon, MS, RD: Wow, this is a tough one. Weight management usually (just about always) means changing behavior, and change is hard. With so many factors that go into why we do the things we do, it can be hard to narrow it down. But I will say that something I notice more often than not with clients is a lack of awareness around portion sizes, which can lead to major diet sabotage. They could go to all the trouble of choosing reasonable better-for-you foods, only to be thwarted by a general tendency to overeat. It doesn’t help that the food environment has been super-sized in the past 20 years.

For example, someone may think they’re making a smart choice by ordering shrimp linguini when dining out, only to end up racking up 1200 calories or more in a single sitting because of the sheer volume of food, or because they don’t realize it’s in a cream sauce whose saturated fat calories add up fast. And if an appetizer, glass of wine or dessert are involved, forget it – they could easily eat more than a day’s share in one meal.

Whether eating out or dining in, I recommend clients make a conscious choice to decide how much they will eat, before taking the first bite, and to separate that portion onto a ‘share plate’ (smaller plate). When the portion has been eaten, that’s it; I advise them to take going back for more out of the equation – when it’s not even an option, it’s much easier to resist. At home, clients can use their smaller plates to serve themselves. When eating out, they can ask for a ‘share plate’ and either let the remainder of the entrée dish make the rounds for others to try or to go into a take-away bag. Another option to provide to clients is to start with a salad and share an entrée with a friend (which can be a money-saving tactic, too).

 

Bell Institute: What recommendations do you have for incorporating more exercise into the busy lives of clients trying to manage their weight?

Moon: I have four recommendations for the busy client (which is all of them), and here’s a little fair warning: my first tip may seem a little hokey to some, the second is purely practical, the third requires some (though minimal) effort, and the fourth is more of a tough love bit o’ advice. Of course, the usefulness of these tips will vary depending on what you, the health care professional, knows will resonate for your clients.

  1. Stretch and give thanks. Start your day with some morning yoga. I am not talking about going to a 90-minute class at 6 a.m. in the morning. I am talking about rolling out of bed, going through some basic stretches, and giving thanks that your body can move to the extent that it can. The logic behind this is that it takes next to no time, and it means starting your day with a reminder to be aware of and to take care of your body in addition to the other 17,000 things on your to-do list.
  2. Super practical. Walk as much as you can. Walk to the break room for tea. Walk to the printer each and every time you print something. Walk to the mail room to drop off your mail. Walk outside for 10 minutes after you’ve finished eating lunch. Walk up any stairs that come your way. Walk to talk to a coworker. You get the idea.
  3. Decide how to spend your spare 5 minutes. Basic exercises require no equipment and not very much time. Think: jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups. What they do require is that you decide to spend 5-10 minutes doing them. It could be during a TV commercial, between all-day meetings and client dinners when you’re on a business trip, or before you have to go pick up the kids.
  4. Tough love (that works). No time for exercise? Make time. Taking care of your health is supremely important, and at some point you may need to reprioritize your daily activities to make room for being physically active. Personally, I like finding physical activities that are also fun, so that it’s not just about sweating, but also about gaining a new skill and having fun with a hobby. After all, time flies when you’re having fun and all that.

Seasonal Salad for Thanksgiving

Maybe it’s because my birthday is in the fall, but it’s always been one of my favorite seasons. As a New Yorker, fall meant perfect, crisp afternoons in Central Park. As a traveler, fall meant globally amicable weather from Seoul to Paris to New Orleans.

One more reason to love fall: the seasonal flavors that find their way to the table. The chill in the air somehow makes us especially appreciative of the rich and fresh flavors we can still savor. I love the deep flavors of dark leafy greens and the brightness of citrus coming into season just in time to cheer us up on grey days.

Here’s one of my favorite fresh kale salads that has graced our humble dinner table as well as been enjoyed at dinner parties large and small. (Tip for a guest: Bring this salad in its own serving dish with serving utensils. The host will be grateful for a dish that takes no additional prep or kitchen resources)

Honestly, this salad pops with so many flavors, from rich to bright, that the oohs and the aahs will make this a stealth-health dish. If you’re so inclined to contemplate all the goodness you’re doing for your health as well as your palate, be assured that superveggie kale will provide tons of antioxidant vitamin A, and the citrus in the dressing and the grapefruit bring lots of vitamin C. The hazelnuts provide primarily unsaturated fats to help absorb fat-soluble vitamin A, as well as some protein and B vitamins.

A Seasonal Salad to be Thankful For

Lacinato Kale, Shaved Fennel, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Toasted Filberts, with Red Wine-Honey Vinaigrette

1 bunch  Lacinato kale (aka dinasour kale), washed, dried and torn into bite size pieces

1 fruit      Ruby red grapefruit, supremed (aka cutting the flesh of segments out, here’s a handy video)

5-8oz      Filberts (aka hazelnuts), roasted (10 minutes in a pan over medium heat, or on a baking sheet at 350F in the oven should just about do it – with either method it’s best to give them a stir now and then for even toasting)

Optional: Chopped dill

Dressing: Extra virgin olive oil, Pinot noir red wine vinegar, Honey, Juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime, Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation Guidelines

1. In a large bowl, combine the kale, fennel, and dill (if using)

2. Prepare dressing to your personal preference, whisk until all ingredients are combined (as a general rule of thumb, use 2 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, and 1 TBSP honey. You can add juice from the lemon and lime, as well as the salt and pepper to taste. Speaking of taste, don’t forget to taste along the way until you find the balance of richness and brightness that you like)

3. Add dressing to large bowl and gently massage salad

4. Fold in grapefruit segments (it’s OK if some of them are broken in halves or even thirds)

5. Top with toasted hazelnuts

6. Enjoy!

(Tip: If you’re traveling with the salad, you can pack the grapefruit and hazelnuts separately, and add them in once you’ve arrived to your destination)

The Emergency-Ready Pantry

Has hurricane Sandy got you thinking about how prepared you might be in an emergency? It’s even more important in stressful times to keep everyone well-nourished, and natural disasters often mean doing it without refrigeration. You should count on having at least 3 days of food and water per person. Below are my top picks for the shelf-stable foods that should be in your pantry. (For non-food emergency-preparedness information, please see the Resources section below)

Water:

Plan to have 1 gallon of bottled water per person per day. For a basic 3-day kit, that’s 3 gallons per person. It should be used for drinking as well as sanitation.

 

Healthy Foods for the Emergency Kit:

It’s a good idea to choose lower-sodium foods that could make you thirsty. For the same reason, canned foods with a lot of liquid are a good idea. This is also a time when high-calorie foods may work in your favor (but keep it healthy and think nuts and granola bars).

Keep food safe by washing hands, throwing away food you suspect has gone bad, and keeping eating utensils clean. Throw out cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, since it may indicate bacterial growth inside. I actually favor tetra-packed foods for my pantry as they keep my food safe and are BPA-free. For the foods below, look for foods in shelf-stable packaging, including tetra-packs, cans, and jars.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • 100% juice
  • Fruit salad, pineapple, peaches, or other fruit packed in 100% juice
  • Dried apricots, prunes, raisins, and other dried fruit (keep in a tightly closed container)

  • Tomato sauce or tomatoes
  • Soups (just watch the sodium)
  • Corn, green beans, pumpkin puree, and other veggies

Note: A consistent supply of fresh fruit in the house can mean that you can enjoy some fresh produce for a few days when refrigeration goes out. Apples, bananas, and citrus work well.

Whole Grains

  • Dry cereal
  • Bars – breakfast, granola, energy bars
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Brown rice cakes

Protein

  • In-shell pistachios and peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned fish that’s lower in mercury: sardines, herring, salmon
  • Canned chicken
  • Boxed soy milk or cow’s milk
  • Canned chickpeas, lentils, red beans, black beans, or other beans

Extras

  • Reduced sodium broths
  • Vinegar, herbs, spices, and other low-sodium flavor enhancers
  • Coconut water

Special Populations

  • Infant foods and formula
  • Food safe for those with food allergies
  • Soft foods for older adults who may have trouble with hard foods
  • Food and water for pets
  • Vitamins or dietary enzymes that some people may want

Non-Food Food Stuff:

  • Don’t forget a manual can opener.
  • You may also want non-fragile cups, plates, eating utensils, as well as hand sanitizer.

Resources:

 

Personal note: As a New Yorker for over a decade, I feel a personal connection to the devastation that came with hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, friends and family in the northeast are coping well. We moved to California just a few months ago, so we were lucky to be out of Sandy’s path.

Stay Cool with Super Salads!

Looking for a little oven-free meal inspiration? Summer is a great time to get creative with salads. There are so many fruits and vegetables in top form that it’s hard to go wrong.

Salads can be quick and easy, super healthy and filling, yet light to enjoy on a summer’s day or night. Plus: No oven required!

Fill up on refreshing salads that will satisfy your hunger for fewer calories than you think. Read on for 5 fresh salad ideas!

Start by filling your salad bowl with in-season fruits and vegetables. These foods are naturally low in calories because they have so much water in them. Their high water content means they’ll take up plenty of space on the plate and in the stomach. Our bodies and our planet are mostly water, so why not our plates, too? Their volume and their fiber will help keep the body satisfied. Their vitamins and minerals will keep the body nourished. Add lean protein and healthy fats from nuts or oils for a well-balanced meal.

5 Salad Inspirations

1. The inspiration: Watermelon

2. The inspiration: Cucumbers

  • Change it up and instead of lettuce, use cucumbers as the base for your next salad. Mix in cherry tomatoes, onions, and shredded chicken with your favorite dressing.

3. The inspiration: Pistachios

4. The inspiration: Strawberries

5. The inspiration: Boston Lettuce

Tough Love: What You Really Need to Do to Lose Weight

As you can imagine, having weight loss on the brain can be an occupational hazard for a registered dietitian living in a nation where more than one third of adults are obese.

Every once in awhile, the time is right for a shake-up. That’s what got me going as I wrote a piece for Fox News Magazine.

If you’re serious about shedding unwanted pounds in time for the height of summer, listen up and listen good — it’s not exactly what you’ve been hearing. The sooner we admit that we’re in for some hard work, the less likely we are to quit the moment things get difficult. Here’s some tough love on how to really get slimmer by summer.

You’ll notice the tips have two main themes: tips for being mentally prepared for success, and tips for being physically satisfied and nourished. The idea is to help you have the right attitude to  reach your goals, and to provide the practical tips on what to eat (or not eat) to get you there.

To read the full article with its 10 tips, mosey on over to Fox News Magazine.

Leafy Greens 101

Whitney Fetterhoff, health reporter for leading national paper The Washington Post, covered a piece on getting to know the wonderful world of leafy greens from June’s issue of Fitness Magazine. As one of the main nutrition experts who contributed to the article, I’m thrilled to see amazing leafy greens get more attention!

Fetterhoff writes, “If you don’t know escarole from collard greens, expand your salad repertoire with a guide to greens in Fitness magazine. Some of the benefits? Turnip greens are loaded with Vitamin K, according to Maggie Moon, a New York nutritionist, and one cup cooked fulfills 20 percent of your daily B6 requirement.”

Fetterhoff also smartly talks up bok choy and its cancer-fighting antioxidants, how to make kale a tasty snack, and the benefits of eating Swiss chard and watercress. To read what else she found interesting or useful, check out the rest of her write-up at The Washington Post.

To read the Fitness Magazine piece, find it on newsstands, or check it out here.

Smarter Ways to Build a Better Burger

better-for-you beef burger

Want the satisfaction of a burger without throwing away your health or your waistline? Love saving time in the kitchen? Well, you’re in luck! I spent last weekend coming up with two fantastic burgers that are both quick to make and healthy for you too.

The first is a better-for-you beef burger (for those of you who agree that a burger means beef). And for the adventurous types, the second is a lovely vegan quinoa-black bean burger spiked with apple cider vinegar (trust me, it does something nice with the earthy base notes), prepped in the pan with heart-healthy walnut oil. What makes them health-smart? Sane portion sizes, fewer calories, and more whole grains and veggies! Each burger was prepped and plated in well under 30 minutes

A Better Beef Burger (150 calories)

What I think is great about this recipe is that, though I could have done everything from scratch – I didn’t have to!

I purposefully found ways to take shortcuts, without compromising on nutrition or quality ingredients, so you can spend less time in the kitchen this summer and still feel great about what you put on the table to nourish you and your family.

Ingredients (makes approximately 15 patties):

Better BurgerThis burger was quickly made with a few shortcuts that didn’t compromise on flavor nor nutrition.

Directions:

  1. Combine egg white with cooked whole grains, chopped veggies, and red wine.
  2. Add lean ground beef until just mixed.
  3. With clean hands, create small patties about 2.5” across and ½ inch thick. This recipe will yield approximately 15 patties.
  4. Add patties to a hot skillet. No additional cooking oil needed. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until fully cooked; flipping once. Patties should reach an internal temperature of 160° Fahrenheit for food safety.
  5. Remove fully cooked patties by lifting out of skillet and draining on paper towels.

To plate your burger, slice a mini brioche roll width-wise, and scoop out some of the breading from the rounded top piece. The main reason to do this is to provide a balance of bread to burger. Otherwise, the roll can be a bit overwhelming. Plus, the carved out top conveniently leaves room for toppings. Cutting down on calories is an added bonus!

Add your favorite toppings. I used honey Dijon mustard, a slice of a vine-ripened tomato, red leaf lettuce, red onion, and half-sour pickles (which taste fresher than regular pickles, and are lower in sodium).

Nutrition for Beef Burger, Brioche, and Toppings

150 calories; 5.5g total fat (8.5%); 2.5g sat fat (12.5%); 35mg cholesterol (11.5%); 300mg sodium (12.5%); 16g carbs; 1g fiber; 3g sugars; 9g protein; 4% calcium; 10% iron; 13% vitamin C; 8% vitamin A.

Better BurgerVegan Quinoa Black Bean Burger

Vegan Quinoa-Black Bean Burger (145 calories)

This burger concept is packed with plant-based protein from the quinoa and the black beans.

The patty itself is vegan, but if you follow a strict vegan diet, please note that our mini-brioche rolls are not vegan.

Ingredients (makes approximately 15 patties)

Better BurgerJust a few of the ingredients needed to make a vegan burger!

Directions:

  1. Coarsely mash the rinsed and drained black beans.
  2. Mix mashed black beans with cooked whole grains, salsa, apple cider vinegar, and chili powder until combined.
  3. With clean hands, create small patties about 2.5” across and ½ inch thick. This recipe will yield approximately 15 patties.
  4. For each batch, heat about a teaspoon of walnut oil in the skillet per about 5 patties. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness; flipping once.
  5. Remove cooked patties by lifting out of skillet and draining on paper towels.

To plate your burger, slice a mini brioche roll width-wise, and scoop out some of the breading from the rounded top piece. As mentioned above, the main reason to do this is to provide a balance of bread to burger. Otherwise, the roll can be a bit overwhelming. Plus, the carved out top conveniently leaves room for toppings. Cutting down on calories is an added bonus! Add your favorite toppings. I used our guacamole and red onions.

Nutrition for Veggie Burger, Brioche, and Toppings

145 calories; 6.5g total fat (10%); 2g sat fat (10%); 0mg cholesterol; 280mg sodium (12%); 21g carbs; 3g fiber; 3g sugars; 5.5g protein; 4% calcium; 10% iron; 20% vitamin C; 6% vitamin A.

Summer SaladSummer Salad

What’s in that beautiful side salad?

Summer is a great time to get creative with salads. There are so many fruits and vegetables in top form, it’s hard to go wrong.

I was especially wowed by the heirloom tomatoes, but loved working with all of the ingredients in this side salad:

A Healthy Look at Gluten-Free Eating

While there is plenty of curiosity about going gluten-free, there is just as much misinformation. Wondering if a gluten-free diet is for you? Let’s find out together: Come with me as I take a healthy look at gluten-free eating, including exciting news about our improved Gluten-Free Store! I’ll be your guide, pointing out highlights and pitfalls along the path.

Prepping the Path (a bit of background)

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and their derivatives. Some people, such as those with celiac disease, have an immune reaction to gluten that damages their small intestine and limits nutrient absorption.  For more gluten-free facts, check out our FAQ section here.

Gluten-free eating has come a long way since 2004, when a National Institutes of Health statement found that celiac disease was considerably under-diagnosed. Though still under-diagnosed, public awareness has never been higher. The good news from the report: effective treatment exists; that is, lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. Since that time the gluten-free marketplace has exploded, registered dietitians have developed expertise in gluten-free diets, physicians have gotten better at diagnosis, and communities and educational resources have emerged.

Watch Out! (falling facts zone)

People ask if gluten-free diets are healthier, the silver bullet for weight loss, the secret to glowing skin, or the way to finally achieve world peace. I’m exaggerating, but not much. For people with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivities, the answer is yes, at least on the “healthier” question: eating gluten-free will make you feel better, and is important to minimizing nutrient deficiencies and damage to your digestive system, bone health, and more. For everyone else, the bottom line is that there is nothing inherently better about a gluten-free diet.

It’s important to remember that unnecessarily restricting the diet will limit food choices, making it that much more challenging to eat a healthful, well-balanced diet. Plus, cutting out gluten-containing foods could potentially lead to deficiencies in iron, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. That’s because fortified wheat-based products are a major source of these nutrients in the American diet.

All that being said, that doesn’t mean a healthy diet has to include gluten either. A healthy diet depends on the food choices one makes. Consider that natural, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish, poultry and meat are all gluten-free. Same goes for a host of unique whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice, wild rice, popcorn and more. It’s great to see that there are also better-for-you prepared meals and snacks on the market these days.

If going gluten-free means you put down the crackers, cookies, and cakes made with refined flour, and pick up the cauliflower, quinoa, and salmon, then yes, you’ll be eating a healthier diet (and most likely dropping a few pounds, too). By the same logic, a diet full of highly-processed gluten-free foods is just as likely to lead to weight gain and its complications as eating their gluten-containing counterparts. It’s all in the details – not just whether or not there’s gluten in your next bite.

From a medical perspective, only those who have been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder should go gluten-free. From a lifestyle perspective, if going gluten-free is code for eating less processed foods, then I’m all for it (but you know the caveat – see above).

The Right Way (state-of-the-science recommendations)

The NIH consensus statement recommends six key strategies for managing celiac disease:

  • C – Consult with a registered dietitian with expertise in gluten-related disorders
  • E – Education about the disease
  • L – Lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet
  • I – Identification and treatment of nutritional deficiencies
  • A – Access to an advocacy group
  • C – Continual long-term follow-up

 

A Helping Hand (our gluten-free store and recipes)

If you are taking gluten out of your diet, we know it’s not always easy, and we’d like to help. That’s why I teamed up with our grocery team to launch a new gluten-free store, just for you. We are launching our new store during National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, and hope you enjoy our expanded selection and improved shopping experience.

We’ve added over 100 new items, for a store that houses over 500 popular items. We’ve improved the shopping experience by sprucing up the visual appeal of the store, and offering new ways to navigate such as “Shop by Meal”. I’ve also gone through all the products and organized my top picks by theme:

  1. Kid-Friendly
  2. Whole Grains
  3. Snacks
  4. Pantry Faves
  5. Sensible Treats
  6. Dairy Alternatives

In the interest of providing the most helpful selection of products for the gluten-free shopper, we took the extra step of filtering out many naturally gluten-free products like bottled water, yogurt, and apples, to name just a few. We feel that including those kinds of items would make browsing through the gluten-free store more cumbersome than it needs to be. (I’d like to put in my vote as an RD for your next stops after the Gluten-Free Store to be Vegetables, Fruits, and Seafood.)

Here’s what you can expect to find in our store. You will find foods that are certified gluten-free. You’ll also find dairy alternatives that are promoted as gluten-free. Even though these foods are just about always gluten-free, we decided to include them because we heard from enough gluten-free shoppers that they are also very interested in dairy alternatives. So if a dairy alternative makes a gluten-free claim, you’ll find it in our Gluten-Free Store. Some examples are Almond milk and Soy milk.

You’ll also see products labeled as gluten-free, whose manufacturer stands by that claim. Sometimes these products may follow good manufacturing practices to prevent cross-contamination, but may not necessarily be certified as gluten-free. These foods don’t get a free pass – they go through a review process. For these products, we are selective. Our evaluation includes ensuring a product is in a relevant category – for example, you won’t find a product like plain bottled water here just because the packaging says it’s gluten-free. But you will find plenty of carb-alternatives in categories that commonly contain gluten such as breads, pastas, and crackers. Still, customers are always encouraged to check the ingredients panel and the physical package before consuming.

We also have many gluten-free recipes in our One-Click Recipes section, where there is enough inspiration for weeks and weeks of meals.

Info Booth (where to learn more)

If you want to learn more about going gluten-free, there are trustworthy resources out there that can help:

Reference

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. NIH Consensus Development Conference on Celiac Disease: Conference Statement. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2004. Last accessed 5/10/12 from http://consensus.nih.gov/2004/2004CeliacDisease118html.htm

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